Coronavirus doesn’t seem to be going away soon, and it is advisable to stay home and safe to the best of your ability. However, with year-end festivities ’round the corner, an intimate house party or micro soiree may be what many are planning.
People who have been quarantined in their respective houses are getting together to have a low-key good time and feel the magic of human interaction in a safe and controlled manner. Families are having more get-togethers and neighbours are getting together to unwind. Some celebrating birthdays and anniversaries with a small crew, and this Holiday season, maybe even you are thinking of throwing a year-end get-together.
In this scenario, what are the house party rules? Tricky to navigate but worth figuring out, we reckon!
Unlike impromptu ‘scenes’ from back in the day, you need to give people plenty of notice before your event. We need to keep in mind, in general, that nothing is how it used to be. So friends who could come over at a moment’s notice might not have the luxury of a babysitter, or cook, or a thousand other scenarios that all point to the same thing. Giving people enough time to pencil in your event is imperative.
If it’s a celebratory event like a birthday or anniversary, you could add a special touch in the form of an e-invite (easily made on apps like Canva or PicsArt) to send out to your guests. Not only does this instantly add an element of excitement, but it also ensures they block the date for real.
Be transparent about your house party
In an awkward but seemingly necessary turn of events, you might have to have a ‘Full Disclosure Policy’ from the start, given that everyone is following their rule book during COVID-19 times, and we really shouldn’t judge. What do we mean by that? A couple of things.
Be transparent about who all are going to be present at your party. Your closest friend might not be comfortable with your second cousin who has been raging it up and making no bones about it. It’s better to have a get-together where everyone knows each other and is already comfortable with each other. The goal is to keep it small and intimate so that it allows you to decompress with a group of like-minded individuals in these precarious times.
Also, inviting people is one thing, but you never know how comfortable they are with catered food. Some might think a house party implies home food. If you are planning to order food from outside or have it catered, it’s better to inform your guests of the same beforehand.
Also, unlike back in the day where you could easily catch a cab back home if you felt like drinking, many want to use their vehicles now for safety reasons. So if you are planning to serve alcohol at your soiree, maybe let your guests know beforehand so they plan to get a driver along or to not drink (which they can inform you about and you, in turn, will have a realistic picture of how much alcohol you need to arrange for).
What about entertainment?
This should be easy because we are starved of entertainment. Just the idea of meeting other humans and socialising sounds interesting enough. However, it’s always nice when there are special plans for the evening. Bust out that karaoke machine that’s gathering dust, pub quiz, board games, or even good ol’ Antakshri. It might be a nice break from everyone discussing corona cases and vaccines for two hours straight.
You might even want to turn your event into a theme party, even though the number of people is small. Hear us out — right now, people have the time to go all out to dress in theme. It might be just the touch your party needs, and it will give you and your crew the best photo op of your lives.
Some general hosting house party tips to follow:
Hosting is a big responsibility. There are naturals with Monica Gellar-like host skills, and then there are those that have to work at it a little. Either way, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Just follow some of these basic etiquettes and tips, and the evening should turn out fun for all.
- Don’t be alarmed if your guests want to keep their masks on. It’s entirely their prerogative, and you shouldn’t take offence that they are in your home and are still trying to maintain distance or keep their face covered.
- Similarly, some guests may excessively wash their hands. Be a graceful host and lead them to the washroom instead of laughing or mocking their paranoia.
- It might also be a good idea to keep multiple bottles of sanitiser within arm’s reach in different corners of your home so that people are never too far away from disinfectant.
- For food and drink, you could incorporate a subtle nod to the times we live in by keeping ‘Immunity Booster Cocktails/Mocktails’ and in general not go overboard with the menu because we don’t live in times of excess and sustainability is a mantra to follow. Check our handy guide to zero waste cooking here.
- Add personal touches to your soiree, especially since this is as intimate a setting as it gets. The smaller the number of people, the more you can add details like custom menus (with each guest’s name) or monogrammed napkins. These are just tiny little things that make guests ooh and aah and remember you for your hosting skills.
- Don’t get fazed by mishaps. Someone spilt wine on your couch? Freak out internally if you must, but a good host does not lose their cool. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s this: People are more important than things, right?
Disclaimer: We don’t condone people not following safety rules and guidelines. Please step out of your house at your own risk and always wear a mask.
All images: Courtesy Getty